Hulu, the online video joint venture of News Corp and NBC Universal, will make its public debut on Wednesday after four months of beta testing with programming from Time Warner Inc's Warner Bros Television Group, Lionsgate and from sports leagues including the NBA and NHL. Missing from the list of providers are media mogul Sumner Redstone-controlled companies Viacom Inc, which continues to hold discussions, Viacom said recently, and CBS Corp, which has said it was not averse to a licensing deal.
Hulu's launch is a big bet by big media companies that consumers are as eager to spend long periods of time watching TV shows and movies in front of their computers as they are in front of their televisions. With no marketing and a private test pool of users, Hulu Chief Executive Jason Kilar said they have attracted over five million viewers in the past month with its breadth of legally available contemporary shows and clean design. At launch, Hulu will offer full-length episodes of more than 250 TV series from current hits such as "The Simpsons" as well as older shows like "Buffy the Vampire Slayer." It also will offer 100 movies including "The Big Lebowski" and "Mulholland Drive."
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